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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter extravaganza, well not quite

Good Friday and a shopping trip out to Boundary Mill at Colne, Dawn loves the place, but it means a stop off at Bolton Abbey on the way back, a bit early for the Woodland stuff but we managed to get parked near Barden Bridge and I had a little stroll along the river to the next bridge and back, highlights were several Goosander flying up and down, a pair of sleepy Mandarin on the opposite bank, a couple of Grey Wagtails and a few Buzzards over the ridge.

Sunday the 27th and I thought I would nip up to Teesside to have another session to try and photograph the Penduline Tits but it was quite windy and although there was a brief sighting early on I never even saw them let alone photographed them, after giving up I had a wander around Saltholme hoping for some early migrants, a couple of Chiffchaffs were singing but apart from them it was just remnants of winter with the female Smew on the main Lake and four Barnacle Geese remaining. Took a walk along Greatham Creek to view the Tidal Pools next, a few Avocets, Black Tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Ringed Plover but no Little Ringed then carried on to North Gare, after sitting out a rather long wintry shower I ventured out, a few Skylarks were quite obliging and I finally got a year tick in the shape of two Wheatears on the Golf Course.

right distance wrong Tit unfortunately

Meadow Pipit song flighting

Skylarks were quite obliging
this one singing right over my head

a few Lapwing on Seaton Common
Monday the 28th and it was a wet rainy morning so I just went out for the afternoon, I decided I’d have a potter around the LDV maybe get some Hirundines as a few had been reported over the last few days, I managed one brief Sand Martin at Bank Island where there were also three Buzzards messing around, this species becoming a feature of the afternoon being seen at every site visited. I called in at Thorganby but not a lot was happening there so I went round to North Duffield Carrs where I soon located the winter Slavonian Grebe that had been found on the Sunday but there were no more Hirundines to be had. I also managed to catch up with Wood Lark at one of the local sites getting good views of a pair feeding on the ground. No photos today.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Forest and Coast

Out with Mark and we did a loose repeat of the trip we did two weeks ago, it was a nice sunny morning and we started at the Wykeham Raptor viewpoint this time based on observations from last time, it wasn’t long before a Buzzard went over soon followed by a Goshawk, it showed well but not as close as we’d hoped then as before it was quite some time before there was any more action, several Buzzards eventually got up and a pair of Goshawks started displaying but they were right down the valley so it was just scope views. With the morning clouding over and a touch of rain in the air we gave up on them and decided on another look around Langdale Forest, great area and we drove as far as we could get eventually looking out over the Stony Rigg area, a Goshawk and female Sparrowhawk were seen in flight here as well as another Goshawk sat on a conifer, it was away before we could raise the camera’s though. The afternoon had turned a bit brighter so we dropped down to Scalby Mills for another go with the still present American Wigeon, the tide was right in though and the birds although closer than a fortnight ago were still a fair way out so we decided to head over to Flamborough and try for the Bittern at Thornwick Pools then return later, at Flamborough it was always going to be a long shot and unfortunately the Bittern never showed while we were there but upon returning to Scalby Mills with the tide going out the American Wigeon had indeed come closer. Fearing a busy A64 we took the back roads home with a Dipper being seen from the bridge at Hilla Green  but there was nothing else of note.

and Goshawk showed well early on but not close enough

female Sparrowhawk at Stony Rigg

American Wigeon and friends

was closer later

Friday, 18 March 2016

Common Birds

Allerthorpe Common to be precise, out after work this afternoon but not as sunny as I expected so I didn't see all I had hoped to, several Green Woodpeckers were showing well though, a flock of Crossbills were also busily feeding at the tops of the conifers with several species of Finches and Tits in the area as well including my first Willow Tit of the year and a couple of Buzzards were patrolling.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Blackcocks, Greyhens and masked Bandito's

Sunday 13th and Me, Mark and Pete decided to go for the Grouse up in Teesdale, it wasn’t looking good at first as we drove into thick fog around Scotch Corner, fortunately however we came out of it as we climbed up out of Barnard Castle, first stop was the bridge at Langdon Beck where we had Dipper and Grey Wagtail plus several Woodcocks flying around, a bit further on we had up to 30 Blackcocks in the usual field with two fairly close as we headed up the road to St John’s Chapel, it had turned into a beautiful sunny morning and one of those rare occasions up there with hardly any wind, Skylark were singing, Snipe were drumming, Golden plover piping, Curlew bubbling, a real feelgood factor, a Raptor got up, female Merlin she gained a bit of height then powered off down the valley, we followed after her coming across a female Black and several Red Grouse then just before St John’s Chapel a male Sparrowhawk stood sentinel on a post by the side of the road till we stopped the car that is. The Penduline Tits had reappeared again across the road from Saltholme, they had been seen briefly on Friday then shown most of Saturday afternoon, reported again this morning so it was across to Teesside next, they were still present and showing when we got there although they were right at the back of the reedbed and spent more time down than up, still we managed to get a scope on them and got some good views, no chance of any pics though. We gave up on them coming any closer and headed off to Hartlepool for Pete to see some of the wintering goodies, the two Shore Larks and half a dozen Snow Buntings were showing well by the Jewish Cemetery, a smart Black Redstart was in the Memorial Gardens at the Headland and a Ring Necked Parakeet posed well by the entrance gate of Ward Jackson Park. We headed back and stopped for another look at the Penduline Tits, they were a little closer but it wasn’t long before they flew off back over the road into Saltholme, ended the day at Dorman’s Pool but apart from a couple of Little Egrets and a Stonechat there wasn’t much happening there.
Langdon Beck in full flow

distant Blackcocks

but a couple of closer ones around the corner

they soon lost their nerve and flew off

parting shot

displaying Snipe

the Grouse turned Red further up the valley

Langdon Fell

Snow Bunting at Hartlepool

Black Redstart escaped to a nearby chimney

but was soon back behind bars

RN Parakeet posing

and checking out its nest hole